Name: Makenzi Koyen
Hometown: Seattle, WA
How many years have you been living in the city? 10 Months
"Identify the essential. Eliminate the rest. "
Why did you decide to move here?
had recently moved back to Seattle from LA for personal reasons. I was actively pursuing my acting career while in Seattle but I didn't see myself permanently planting myself there just yet. I knew I would eventually get comfortable and want to find something new; be challenged again. I started working for the retail company, Totokaelo, and when I got word that they were opening a store in New York, I jumped on the opportunity rather quickly. It happened extremely fast-- one minute I'm living my life in Seattle and then a month later I was moving myself across the country. It was completely God driven because New York was never in my own plans, but now having been here, I can see why it was in His.
How do you believe the city has influenced you as a person? As a creative?
I've moved around a lot and lived in many different places but New York has by far been the most challenging adjustment, physically, mentally and emotionally. I have grown so much having only been here for 10 months it completely blows my mind. It's definitely influenced me as a person by helping me stay in the moment and not second guess myself. This city keeps me humble for sure. I'm more grateful than I've ever been in my life. I'm more aware than I've ever been. I feel like I don't take things too personally anymore simply because I rely on God for everything and find my identity through him. I came here in pursuit of an acting career and yet being here has made realized why I want to act and what it was that's been holding me back and since then I feel like that part of my life has skyrocketed. It's allowed me to see that I am enough and I can love who I am and not feel bad about it.
What's something your time in NYC has taught you that you don't believe you could learn in any other city?
Identify the essential. Eliminate the rest. Living in NY is like living in a time warp. Time moves so quickly here, I lose track of days and weeks more than I ever have before haha. Bottom line is, you quickly learn how easily time can be wasted and I don't want to waste any more time doing things that don't matter. I'm not perfect, obviously. I'm still human and I get distracted (I suffer from serious FOMO) but I really do try to ask myself "What is the purpose of what I'm doing right now" If there is no purpose, I probably shouldn't be doing it. I've always considered myself an authentic person, but New York has brought some things about myself to the light that I didn't realize I was hiding from. I feel like this city is like a really good friend. You know, one of those friends you have the best time with, but they don't sugar coat anything. They keep it real, call it "tough love" if you will. That's what living here has been like for me. I've discovered my strengths, my weaknesses, why I'm doing what I'm doing and what my priorities are. The things you do here on a daily basis and go through, many people wouldn't want to put up with. In my opinion, you have to be a decision maker, a go getter and organized in order to thrive. I don't think any other city could shape me the way New York has. It's a tough place to live. I feel like many people move here and are like "yeah this is how it's gonna be" but New York quickly shuts that down. It's definitely it's own beast and you really just have to surrender to the city and stay in the moment. Just go with it.
Describe NYC in 5 words: Magnificent, Exhilirating, Tumultuous, Unpredictable, Cathartic